My story really begins several years ago. My great-grandfather, Carpantherfan84 Sr., a young man living in SC met a woman and conceived a son. This son, his first born, was named Carpantherfan84 Jr.; however the Sr. being a particularly harsh man saw not fit to marry the mother of Carpantherfan84 Jr. Lucky for her since Sr. was an INCREDIBLY abusive husband to the woman he would wind up marrying. In fact, after suffering a stroke at aged 46 and becoming paralyzed, he broke his caretakers leg with his walking cane, because the caretaker, who did I mention was his offspring, (can’t remember if son or daughter) , the caretaker was not moving his paralyzed leg fast enough to keep up with how fast he wanted to walk. NO BS. Coincidentally, the first born son born in that marriage was also named Carpantherfan84 Jr., (the rules must have been very different 80 years ago).
So Carpantherfan84 Jr., grew up with his mother. Coming from abject poverty in a small SC town, he decided that the call of patriotism was speaking to him, and he answered. A proud paratrooper, he also spent time in Korea. Being that he was too young for the Korean War, he arrived there and served his tour just before Vietnam. Now, in the midst of all those heroics, he met a lovely lady whom we will call Grandma, lol. Now, Carpantherfan84 Jr. was no saint. An abusive husband himself, his home was not without turmoil. But they conceived a boy, Carpantherfan84 III along with 2 girls and a boy aged 9 and they settled to a rather meager life but an honest one in a predominantly white neighborhood in High Point, NC. This house would be the house that all of the kids were born in and is still owned by grandma.
Well, his service to the country long over, Carpantherfan84 Jr., succumbed to his fate and died of a stroke at aged 38. His wife being only in her late 30’s was left with 4 children. The oldest of which, Carpantherfan84 III was only 15. Being a strong boy, coming from such a strong father, he stepped into the role of man of the house for his siblings, one they did not always appreciate. Grandma, being the exceptional woman that she is would never remarry, instead she, a middle-aged black woman in the late 70’s with 4 kids got 3 jobs which she would never again work less than for the next 30+ years.
Carpantherfan84 III was an interesting boy. Acutely aware of his mother’s hardship and the constant threat of starvation, he decided it prudent to drop out of school and get a job. His mother, Grandma, protested with all her might. She saw the necessity of her son’s actions, but could only think what was best for him. Lord knows how a boy with a 10th grade education was supposed to be successful even in that time, but unbeknownst to everyone else he had a plan. This particular boy was very bright. Opting to not just drop out of school, he took and passed the placement tests for his GED so that he would not be completely unarmed in life. And that is how they lived for the next 2 years. The mother, constantly working and gone an ungodly amount of hours a day yet still finding time to get herself and her children to church, and the oldest boy doing his best to guide the development of his siblings, while navigating the most perilous years in a young man’s life.
But the boy was becoming a man. Carpantherfan84 III was proud of his father’s service. He also recognized that while the jump was not much, the Army offered his father a step up from the backbreaking life of SC farming to the lower middle class life in NC. At 17 he too answered the call of Uncle Sam and enlisted into the US Army. Like his father before him he knew that the sky was where he wanted to be and became a Paratrooper. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and stationed at Ft Bragg. Carpantherfan84 III was a feisty soldier. Never shy about stating his opinions even to the point that it required punching his 1SG and his PL each on completely separate occasion. But that is another story. Our soon to be patriarch had one more mission before leaving for his basic training. He met and wooed a beautiful woman from a VERY small town in NC named Rose hill, population less than 1000. They conceived a boy child, Carpantherfan84 IV, or as you know him Carpantherfan84, but we are not ready for his story just yet. That beautiful woman has a story as well, and later you will hear it.